Alex Salmond

When Alex Salmond decides to try to destroy his protégé because she refused to fiddle the complaints against him, the media love it as soap opera. But in truth, his new party is perhaps the ultimate example of toxic masculinity, a vehicle for a titanic ego, someone determined to undermine every institution and every person that tried to hold him to account.

People ask if this will affect the Greens, and in some ways it will, for the next six weeks. The public, by and large, only tune into elections for the last six weeks, and they will hear a lot about him in the newspapers in particular. That’s bad news for all the other parties as we try to get our message across.

I was one of thousands of people who joined the Scottish Greens after the 2014 referendum. I was motivated by the feeling of an opportunity missed. We had a chance to change direction, to build a new country and we lost that chance. I wanted to be part of making sure we got that opportunity back.

Scottish independence is still core to what I believe in, and what my party stands for. If I am elected in May then my Green colleagues and I will all vote for an independence referendum, and will campaign for a Yes vote.

The launch of the Alba Party does not change that. Scottish independence is something that is built on grassroots support across the country and winning people over. It is not about individuals, and is far more important than one man’s ego.

We believe in independence because it would be a chance for us to build a fairer, greener Scotland in Europe. With independence we could remove trident, end austerity and build on the successes of the Scottish Parliament in order to do things differently.

After the 2014 referendum we didn’t plot, split or brief the newspapers, instead we rolled up our sleeves, and showed the positive impact that we can have. We have worked relentlessly to improve the lives of people in Scotland. And we have delivered.

In the last month alone Scottish Green MSPs have worked constructively with the Scottish Government’s budget process to secure COVID relief payments worth up to £330 for 500,000 households. We have delivered free bus travel for everyone under 22 and a pay rise for all of the public sector workers who have done so much for us over these last 12 months.

These are changes that will be felt by millions of people across Scotland, and will have a positive impact for years to come. By making these changes we have also made the case for independence. If this is what we can do with limited powers, then think how much more we can do as a fully independent country.

When COVID struck we secured regular testing for care workers, NHS staff and teachers, a ban on winter evictions during the pandemic and worked with school students to restore the 124,565 exam grades that were unfairly lowered based on postcodes.

We have shown the value that Green MSPs can bring: an unrelenting focus on environmental justice and building a better Scotland. There is so much more that we can do, but we need more Scottish Green MSPs to do it.

Yesterday I was proud to announce our plan to create 100,000 new green jobs. Scotland has a huge wealth of renewable energy resources on land and at sea, yet the sector has been badly let down. Scotland can lead the renewables revolution in Europe. But it needs action.

If we want this kind of bold and radical change then we have to vote for it. We cannot be distracted by the sideshows or any political games. The latest polls show that we are on course to win a record number of MSPs, but we can’t do it without your support.

A vote for the Scottish Greens is a vote for independence, but it is also a vote for independence with a purpose. It is a vote for a positive green vision and for the transformative changes that Scotland needs.

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